Top 5 Ways to Make the Most of Your Internship

My 10-week long internship with Organik SEO was a whirlwind and an amazing experience. Here are the top five takeaways from my internship which could hopefully help you too.

It’s Not What You Know, but Who You Know

Tip #1: Consider the people you know a resource, as it’s likely they are willing to help. Sometimes, all you have to do is ask. Make LinkedIn your best friend!

The way I landed this internship is a fantastic example of networking. My former teammate’s parent is in marketing, so I reached out to him on LinkedIn to see if he knew anyone hiring for summer internships. He contacted a friend at a local PR company, who had just hired an intern. In response, they passed the message along to their industry partner [Organik SEO] to see if they needed a summer intern. Because I came highly recommended, the rest was history.

Don’t be afraid to send a quick message on LinkedIn. You don’t have to ask for a job either! If you simply ask about their career journey or for resume advice, you are front-of-mind and it shows initiative. A simple message could spur a chain reaction and land you a position like it did for me.

Unpaid Internship? Work for Free? Who Would do That?

Tip #2: Is an unpaid internship for school credit worth it? At the right company, 100% yes!

Simply put: If you need the experience, take it. Coming into my internship, I didn’t have the skills or knowledge to dive in and do billable work for clients. I spent the majority of my time learning the ins and outs of digital marketing and becoming comfortable with how an agency operated. Now, in my next position, I will be at the point where I can confidently dive in, join the team and earn compensation!

I could have gone to work at a coffee shop and have extra spending money in my pocket at the end of the summer. However, this internship was by far the better option, because I now have:

  • A great reference for future applications.
  • Experience to add to my resume and brag about in my next interview, especially surrounding my certifications:
    • Hubspot Inbound Certification: I studied best practices to assemble a campaign strategy, SEO fundamentals, how to drive traffic, content creation, social media management, integration of the sales and marketing processes and so much more.
    • Google Analytics Certification: I learned how to create custom reports, track a campaign based on KPIs and make adjustments to a campaign based on data and findings.
    • Google AdWords Certification: I discovered how to create a tailored ad campaign and learned the ins and outs of advertising with Google Search and Display Networks.
  • An overall increased level of business acumen and a greater understanding of how a small company operates.
  • A whole new bank of digital marketing knowledge to pull from and apply to other situations.
  • More connections!

It is important to know what you’re getting into before committing to an internship. We have all heard stories where the intern sits at a desk all summer filing papers, performing data entry and fetching coffee for the department. To avoid a painful experience of being banished to remedial work, remember that in the interview, it is your responsibility to have a clear outline of what you hope to achieve. You are interviewing the company just as much as they are interviewing you. It’s important that you are on the same page when it comes to objectives and goals for the internship.

Learning the Business

Tip #3: Be a sponge. Soak in the information around you. Do the necessary research and ask questions!

For the first couple weeks, I kept my Google Partner Moleskine at my side to scribble notes all day long. In each new conversation, I was hearing tons of new words and acronyms, which I would write down and ask about when there was a break in the conversation. It was also extremely beneficial to sit in on some client calls as a way to listen to how the team communicated with clients and better understand the technical terms.

I began to delve into the Hubspot Inbound Marketing, Google Analytics and Google AdWords certifications. They laid a foundation to set me up for success. Julien [Organik Founder and CEO] mentioned that he looks for certifications such as these in the hiring process. Throughout the certification processes, I filled my notebook with keywords and technical acronyms. In the end, I reached a point where I could use the language in conversation and sound more knowledgeable, even though I had only been involved in the industry for a few weeks.

A Well-Rounded Experience

Tip #4: Expose yourself to unfamiliar areas. Take initiative and ask questions to gain experience in all departments.

This internship was anything but narrowly focused. I was lucky enough to gain experience in all moving parts of the company. I got to work with and witness all stages of the sales process: researching, prospecting, qualifying, lead nurturing, proposal creation, onboarding new clients, etc.

Additionally, I got hands-on with the social media team, having the opportunity to sit in on strategy calls, create blog content, edit blogs and create tweets for the Organik SEO Twitter. I also used my creative side and my past experience with photography to take product photos and create a short “how-to” video for a couple existing clients’ social media.

Last but not least, I got my feet wet with SEO by learning the basics of on-page optimization, researching backlink opportunities for clients and optimizing blog content. Also, all three of the certifications in Hubspot Inbound Marketing, Google Analytics, and Google Adwords helped me understand how to drive website traffic, capture leads, drive conversions and make adjustments to campaigns as necessary.

I am grateful that my internship was broad because the point of an internship is to gain as much experience and knowledge as possible. Internships are a process of weeding out all options and discovering which areas you like and don’t like. And of course, like your mom said about the gross foods she made you eat as a kid, “you will never know if you like it until you try it.” So, put yourself out there! Ask to shadow a different department. Learn a new skill. You might discover a new passion or start a new career path.

Find a Company that Fits your Style

Tip #5: Company culture DOES make a difference.

I regard my internship experience with Organik SEO very highly. I am one to give credit when credit is due, and this entire team has been nothing short of accommodating, helpful and 100% awesome.

Organik SEO has a set of clearly defined core values that ring true in every aspect of their business. They are a Certified Benefit Corporation, and they take their social impact seriously. This stood out to me in the interview process because I am an environmentalist at heart and the issues they care about resonate with me as a person.

A couple of my projects relating to Organik SEO’s B Corp status included outreach to other B Corps who could either benefit from a mutual collaboration or make good industry partners. Additionally, I helped to build out a strong presence for Organik on B Hive [A platform the B Corp community can use to connect, collaborate, and share knowledge with one another.]

One of the coolest aspects of the company culture is the work-life balance the Organik team puts into practice. It’s definitely a “work hard, play hard” setting. It’s normal for a team member to occasionally work remote and take time off when needed. We have fun company outings and enjoy happy hour at local breweries every few weeks. We even allow pets to accompany us in the office! But at Organik, there is always work to be done, so everyone takes responsibility and ownership to complete their tasks.

I am glad I was exposed to this type of work environment, as it helped me realize what kind of setting I would want when I officially join the workforce. If you have an interview for a potential internship (or work) opportunity, don’t hesitate to ask about company culture or what a day in the life is like at that company since this will majorly affect your overall experience.

That’s a Wrap

Overall, I have been so thankful to intern at Organik SEO. I am going into my senior year of college, and I have no idea what postgrad opportunities will come my way. Until then, I will take my new experience and look forward to the road life has for me. If my path crosses again with Organik SEO, I’d be nothing less than thrilled.

Do you have an internship experience to share? Post in the comments below!

If you found this information helpful, be sure to check out our post “Let’s Talk Internships – My Experience with Organik SEO.”

Organik SEO is passionate about helping businesses grow by tapping into the power of SEO, social media, web design and content. To discuss how we can help you grow your business, contact us today!